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What Should I Do with My Fighting Parents?

08 April, 2020
Q My parents fight every time they talk to each other. I'm 20 year old right now, and I live with them. It feels weird to see them like this. It influences me mentally and emotionally.

My two siblings really want them to divorce because they hate my father who has been hurting my mother ever since they got married, according to my mother. Their marriage was arranged.

However, I don't feel good about the idea of divorce because I still worried about my little sister who is only 6 years old. She is deaf as well as me. I also don't like the idea of a family being separated.

I love both of my parents regardless of how they negatively influence us. I don't know which choice is better anymore.

Should I encourage them to get divorced or keep them together regardless of what they to with each other and how this affects us?

Answer

In this counseling answer:

• It may not be a good idea to “force” or pressure your parents to separate or divorce.

• Start creating boundaries with your parents.

• Be assertive with your father; talk to him openly about how affected you and your siblings are.

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• Going to professional therapy can help both of your parents to manage the situation better.

• Be more communicative with your mother.

• Practice self-care.


As-salamu Alaikum Sister,

I am sorry to hear about your situation. I can absolutely understand the conflict and the pain that you face every day, watching your parents fight.

While it is definitely very agonizing to watch your parents fight, the ultimate decision of whether they want to divorce, separate or live together rests with your parents. It may not be a good idea to “force” or pressure your parents to separate or divorce.

How to deal with the situation: I cannot suggest anything concrete since I do not have all the information about who earns for the family, whether your mother can manage you and your siblings on her own, considering you and your sister have a hearing disability.

Yet, I fully realize that living under the same roof where one or more of the family members is abused (verbally, emotionally or physically) almost every day can be a huge emotional burden. Nobody deserves and neither should have to carry on.

From your age, it is apparent that your parents have been married for more than 20 years. If the problem has been going on all these years, it is unlikely that the situation will resolve unless drastic steps are taken.

Here are a few suggestions that can help you manage your situation better.

Start creating boundaries with your parents

Many times, parents start taking their children for granted and focus on themselves and their own lives. They expect you to follow a given set of rules and not deviate from the defined rules. Otherwise, it makes them uncomfortable.

However, as you grow up, it is important that you make your parents realize that you may not be able to carry on living with all their demands and rules.

In your case, your father seems to be oblivious of the effect you and your siblings go through when he fights with your mother or hurts her.

Your mental and emotional health is among the responsibilities of your parents. Every child has the right to have mental peace at home where they can feel safe and secure.

What Should I Do with My Fighting Parents? - About Islam

Therefore, whenever you feel down, depressed or neglected because of your father’s behavior, make it a point to let him know that he hurt you.

According to Hadith, Prophet Muhammad SAW said,

“The best of you are the best to their families, and I am the best to my family.” [Tirmidhi]

Be assertive with your father

B assertive with your father about how his behavior affects you and everyone at home, including your siblings and your mother. Talk to him openly about how affected you and your siblings are.

Ask him about why he behaves in such a way.

By communicating your feelings with him, he may be able to realize the psychological and emotional damage he puts you and your family through.

Sister, it is important to realize that being assertive does not equate to being disobedient or rude. It simply means that you express how you feel regarding a situation with your own perspective and how it affects you, rather than accusing the other person.


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Convince your parents for couple’s counseling or family therapy

Another effective way to deal with this situation would be to convince both of your parents for family/couple’s counseling. Going to professional therapy can help both of your parents to manage the situation better, and can help create a better home environment for everyone.

Be more communicative with your mother

Communicate with your mother and see what she wants. There is a possibility that she does not want to get separated. Or if she does, she may be too worried about how she will manage the children, etc.

As children, all of you are bound to move on, one way or the other. You will become financially independent; you will get married, etc. However, your mother will eventually be the one who will suffer the most if it comes to divorce.

If she really wants to get out of this abusive relationship, nothing should stop her. It is definitely her right to get out of the abuse. However, if she is not mentally ready to leave the relationship, it could do her more harm than good. Let her decide what she wants, for herself.

Practice self-care

Living in a tense environment can get toxic to your mental and physical health. Therefore, take out time for yourself, and do things that you enjoy. Indulge in pleasure and self-care; it is your right.

Find activities that help to soothe and relax you. For instance, go out for walks, paint, read, or write – anything that you enjoy doing and helps you connect with yourself.

Being the eldest sibling, you may also feel that a lot of responsibility rests on you; whether your parents live together or don’t, and if they live together, whether they live in peace.

Yes, you can play your part in helping to improve the environment. However, you need to realize that you cannot “fix” anyone or anything. If your parents’ relationship does not get better, it will never be your fault!

Seek help from Allah SWT

Sister, Allah SWT knows best. He knows the solution to every problem. Be regular in your prayers and supplication. Pray that He gives peace to you and your family.

You need to realize that this life is a test for each of us. What matters eventually is your connection and relationship with Allah SWT in good and bad times.

If it comes to divorce, don’t resist

Last but not least, trust what Allah SWT has plans for you and your family. I realize that a situation like this is usually a double-edged sword. It’s excruciating to live in a toxic environment, yet at the same time, it is heart-wrenching to get out of it because you love all your family members so dearly.

Know what will happen is the decree of Allah – and it is for your benefit, even if you do not see it right now.

I pray that may Allah SWT make everything easy for you and your family.

Ameen.

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